TES induction expert

13th January 2006 at 00:00
Q I am doing a primary teaching practice and my mentor seems unwilling to help me. In class, she is quite professional, but she won't include me in her planning. I feel she continually undermines me and I don't know what to do.

A You must be proactive in trying to resolve the difficulties because it's you and all the pupils you teach in the future who will suffer if you don't get a chance to train properly. Try to work out why your mentor is acting as she is. Lots of teachers find it hard to let go of their class, so you need to prove that she can trust you. Be as helpful as possible, but make clear to her what you need to do for your course. Ask your college tutor to intervene if necessary - they're used to such things.

Q I have just found out that my key stage 2 experience will be with Year 6.

I have always preferred younger ones, up to Years 3 and 4. What I should cover with them?

A Don't worry - it's a fantastic opportunity! When you visit, get a feel for the standard of work of the pupils: high, average, and low attainers.

Long and medium- term plans should be in place, so all you have to worry about is translating them into lesson plans. Look at how the children meet the teacher's rules, routines and procedures, and find out what kinds of things they're doing. You'll be fine.

Q I have an interview for Scitt (school-centred initial teacher training).

How should I prepare?

A How exciting, but how terrifying! Wear smart clothes, but make sure you'll be comfortable. Take a file with your application form, the prospectus, the letter detailing the interview schedule and a copy of the most recent TES - you will look professional.

What are your interviewers looking for? Commitment, a realistic understanding of what teaching is like; someone who acts and speaks professionally; someone who is going to be successful on the course: writes well, is punctual, copes with pressure, likes children, is intelligent, works in a team, has good subject knowledge, and takes care with presentation.

They'll ask you why you want to teach, why you have chosen their course and about current issues. What makes a good lesson? Difficult behaviour.

Describe a day in class. Think up some answers and use concrete examples from what you've seen in schools.

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